The single biggest fascination that drove me to pursue naturopathic medicine was when my own ND asked me about how my body has historically responded to food and stress. The acute illness I was managing at the time, was, in his opinion, likely congruent with lifelong patterns and habits that my body had displayed with respect to food, stress and genetics?. This approach to unlocking an individual’s health made so much intuitive sense that no matter how hard I tried, naturopathic medicine kept calling me back.
In my own practice, understanding the historical patterns of one’s body has always provided insight regarding susceptibilities and easy avenues to feeling well quickly. All too frequently, getting people back on track does not require elaborate protocols, but rather, simple lifestyle and dietary adjustments. Rather than debating the role that food may or may not play in your own health, why not just try making some simple changes.
Chronic Ear infections – while health and social history are always important (frequent swimming, day care, short Eustachian tubes, etc…), chronic ear infections are frequently and consistently correlated with food sensitivities. Most conservative estimates suggest that 40% of chronic ear infections are related to food sensitivities. Dairy and in some cases wheat (but usually dairy), is one of the easier foods to remove when kids (or adults) are presenting with ongoing infections.
Eczema, Allergies and Asthma – These three conditions represent the classic ‘atopic triad’ (huh?) Atopy refers to a class of autoimmune reaction where a person is essentially hyperallergic. The classic triad of eczema, asthma and then seasonal allergies typically starts as a baby with initial manifestations of eczema. Treatments are provided that usually address the symptoms versus the cause and the body continues to respond to an unresolved trigger. As children get older, they often begin to develop seasonal or exercise induced asthma and then seasonal allergies into adulthood. Sound familiar? Drop the dairy, (all cow dairy) and book a food sensitivity test to ensure you are not chronically reacting to another frequently consumed food.
Urinary tract infections – Yes, I know, bacteria is the most common cause of urinary tract infections. The question, beyond identifying the type of bacteria contributing to a chronic UTI is ‘why’ the body is susceptible in the first place. In my experience, wheat (not necessarily gluten) is a frequent contributor to an ongoing susceptibility to those irritating UTIs.
Frequent infections – People who ‘always get sick’ are usually fulfilling a pattern that has been present for most of their lives. While you may have expected that I would be citing food sensitivities as the cause, stress and processed food consumption (with a slant towards sugar) make frequent appearances in the diets of those managing ongoing challenges to their immune system. Drop the ‘crapacious’ consumption of fake food and increase your exercise to 4 times weekly. It will do wonders for your immune health.
Reflux – wheat, dairy, coffee and sugar (alcohol is sugar). Let them go and report back to me on how you are doing. As an added assistance, stop drinking water while you eat. Keep your drinking away from meals by 30 minutes. Sipping while eating is ok, but stop diluting the important digestive juices that are critical to breaking down your meals.
Food is not the only reason people get and stay sick, but it is an essential upstream consideration for any chronic health manifestation. Removing the most commonly aggravating foods (wheat, dairy, sugar, soy and coffee) is a great place to start. If you are not finding it helpful, robust food sensitivity testing and additional health investigations are the next important step.
Let’s chat soon.